“The Pleasure Is Mine”: A Daring Message of Empowerment
The three-part docu-series “The Pleasure Is Mine” was inspired by a shocking insight: Through research, K-Y discovered that 61% of women tend to put their own needs and pleasure behind their partners’, while 59% of women feel it’s normal to experience some pain or discomfort during sex. What if K-Y, a leader in sexual well-being and intimacy, created content that would free women to talk openly about sex and feel entitled to ask for what they want?
“Candid conversations with diverse women aim to address stigmas that still linger.”—Adweek
A female-led team at K-Y’s agency, Havas New York, approached Girl Culture Films, where Lauren Greenfield immediately thought of Emmy-winning director Amy Berg. “Amy had just done This Is Personal, a film about the Women’s March, and was thinking a lot about intersectionality,” explains Lauren. “I knew she’d be perfect for this project. She’s such an amazing documentarian, and she’s not afraid to ask tough questions.”
With Amy at the helm, the project quickly took shape. She refined the concept with a storyteller’s eye, suggesting group-therapy-style discussions about the very real roadblocks to sexual fulfillment with a certified sex therapist. . The participants would represent the world in all of its diversity: different ages, body types, sexual identities, and ethnicities. The conversations would be real, the chemistry among the women palpable, the candor vivid, relatable, and refreshing. Taboos would be broken, and a new future would begin.
“Each episode dives deep into sex in culture, sex education, and sex and health.” —The Drum
During the 2016 presidential election, Amy noted in an interview about the docu-series, the conversation was about women being disrespected. “Locker-room talk became such an important narrative, and then the Women’s March stepped onto the stage and allowed women to support each other and be empowered by their presence,” she said. “I was documenting the women’s movement the past couple of years and … seeing how much comes from being vocal about things that have been taboo for years, such as sex. I was watching women being able to stick up for what they didn’t want. So when this job came, I thought it would be interesting to talk about what women do want and how to express their power. I thought through a group setting there would be something interesting that would happen in the room.”
“A lot of people are talking about sex positivity right now, but that isn’t necessarily empowering. To us, it sounds so flip to say, ‘Just speak up,’ when women have been conditioned to believe they don’t have a voice in the bedroom. There are still these guardrails in place for women, and we want to call out the double standard.”—Kim Baskinger, executive creative director at Havas
The energy and excitement of the sessions were palpable, traversing topics as personal and diverse as virginity, menopause, and orgasm, with nothing deemed off limits or judged. Straight and gay, young and old, Black, brown and white, the women traded stories of desire and frustration, shared concerns, and most of all, discussed their unanswered questions. By the end, their bond was so strong that they went out together to a strip club (facilitating a fantasy of one of the women) after the shoot wrapped.
As the first content produced for K-Y’s “Get What You Want” campaign initiative, “The Pleasure Is Mine” was celebrated with an event as unconventional as the project itself: a red-carpet film premiere at the Paley Center in New York, where guests were treated to sensual hors d’oeuvres like oysters and figs, gift bags containing pink candles emblazoned with the words “The pleasure is mine”—the tagline doubles as a statement of empowerment—and product samples. There was even a Q&A with Amy and Lauren, the creative directors Kim Baskinger and Pam Kim, and K-Y, just like at a film festival. “It was a glamorous and exciting way to premiere a commercial,” says Lauren.
As the brand has noted, “‘The Pleasure Is Mine’ started the conversation, and countless women are continuing it.”
Executive Creative Directors: Kim Baskinger and Pam Kim
AD: Shari Davani
Production Designer: Fi Campbell